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Thread: Boring Bracket Math Post (Best Seed Debate)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Washington State

    Default Boring Bracket Math Post (Best Seed Debate)

    I have had a couple good-natured disagreements on this board about which seed would give the Zags the best chance of success in the tournament. Most of the experts put us into the 9-11 range as of this morning. But the discussion on this board has included seeds 8 and 12 as well.
    I went back to some tournament history to see if the argument can be made that, let's say, an 11 has a better chance of a deep run versus an 8 seed.
    Of course, past results do not necessarily predict the future, especially the future of a single team with it's own character like the Zags....but the results are interesting.
    I have combined the 11 and 12 seeds because their performance in the first round is almost identical. 8/9 seeds are combined because it seems nobody has a real preference for either.

    Round 1
    11/12 seeds - 68-140 (.327) 11 seeds have 33 1st Rnd wins, 12 seeds 35.
    10 seeds - 42-62 (.404)
    8/9 seeds - 104-104 (.500) 9s lead 56-48

    Round 2
    11/12 seeds - 30-38 (.441) 10-1 when facing 13/14 seeds
    10 seeds - 13-23 (.361) 3-0 against 15 seeds
    8/9 seeds - 13-91 (.125)

    Sweet Sixteen
    11/12 seeds - 5-25 (.167)
    10 seeds - 7-12 (.389)
    8/9 seeds - 7-6 (.538)

    Elite Eight
    11/12 seeds - 2-3 (.400)
    10 seeds - 0-7 (.000)
    8/9 seeds - 3-4 (.429)

    Final Four
    Both 11 seeds that made the FF fell in the first game (last time was George Mason a few years back). 8 seed Villanova won the national championship in 1985. In 2000, a couple 8 seeds made the FF and both lost.

    In the past I have argued for an 8/9 over an 11 or 12. In crunching the numbers I was surprised to see that:
    11/12 seeds have a pretty good 1st round winning% at .327.
    Historically, a random 11/12 seed has a 14.4% chance of making the Sweet Sixteen compared with a random 8/9 at 6.25%. 10 seeds are the most likely at 14.6%.

    11/12 really take advantage when then fave other Cinderellas, going 10-1 in the second round against double digit seeds, and 1-0 in the EE against 8-seeds.

    I was not surprised to see that:
    11/12 seeds are not "favored" in the first round, not even close.
    8/9 seeds that do make the SS usually win their next game. Out of 208 8/9seeds, seven have made the Elite Eight. This compared with five 11/12 seeds.

    8 is the highest seed that has really had any success in the Final Four. Both 11s flamed out. A 7 seed has never made the FF, despite 7 EE appearances. A 9 or 12 has never made the FF.

    In conclusion, I still prefer the 8/9 over the 11 or 12. The improved chance at winning the first game is really the most important factor for me. An NCAA win would really legitimize this season. If your threshold of happiness is a Sweet Sixteen appearance, then I can understand your preference for a lower seed, but 10 seeds are actually a better bet than 11/12.
    If you are hungry for a National Title and nothing else will satisfy, I think the lower seed the better.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Good post FieldHouse. Simply put. Incremental info is always appreciated.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Napa, CA


    Excellent post. I'm still hoping for the 10. My goal is the Sweet Sixteen (which is my goal at the start of every year).
    I will thank God for the day and the moment I have. - Jimmy V

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    My preference is a ten as well but quite frankly I'm just glad we made it. I do not expect to see us in the sweet sixteen but I don't think its out of the question given the right match ups.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    If we make it to the S16, it's a gift from the angels. It would qualify for comeback of the year!

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